[FRIAM] Is consciousness measurable?

Prof David West profwest at fastmail.fm
Tue Oct 18 17:13:47 EDT 2022

I an concurrently reading, *Nineteen Ways of Looking at Consciousness*, by Patrick House and *Mountain in the Sea*, by Ray Nayler. The latter is fiction. (The former, because it deals with consciousness may also be fiction, but it purports to be neuro-scientific / philosophical.)

The novel is about Octopi and AI and an android, plus humans and juxtaposes ideas about consciousness in comparison and contrast. A lot of fun.

Both books pose some interesting questions and both support glen's advocacy of a typology.


On Tue, Oct 18, 2022, at 1:26 PM, glen wrote:
> There are many different measures of *types* of consciousness. But 
> without specifying the type, such questions are not even philosophical. 
> They're nonsense.
> For example, the test of whether one can recognize one's image in a 
> mirror couldn't be performed by a chatbot. But it is one of the 
> measures of consciousness. Another type of test would be those that 
> measure conscious state before, during, and after anesthesia. Again, 
> that wouldn't work the same for a chatbot. But both aggregate measures 
> like EEG and fMRI connectomes might have analogs in tracing for 
> algorithms like ANNs. If we could simply decide "Yes, *that* chatbot is 
> what we're going to call conscious and, therefore, the traced patterns 
> it exhibits in the profiler are the correlates for chatbot 
> consciousness." Then we'd have a trace-based test to perform on other 
> chatbots *with similar computational structure*.
> Hell, the cops have their tests for consciousness executed at drunk 
> driving checkpoints. Look up and touch your nose. Recite the alphabet 
> backwards. Etc. These are tests for types of consciousness. Of course, 
> I feel sure there are people who'd like to move the goal posts and 
> claim "That's not Consciousness with a big C." Pffft. No typology ⇒ no 
> science. So if someone can't list off a few distinct types of 
> consciousness, then it's not even philosophy.
> On 10/18/22 13:12, Jochen Fromm wrote:
>> Paul Buchheit asked on Twitter
>> https://twitter.com/paultoo/status/1582455708041113600
>> "Is consciousness measurable, or is it just a philosophical concept? If an AI claims to be conscious, how do we know that it's not simply faking/imitating consciousness? Is there something that I could challenge it with to prove/disprove consciousness?"
>> What do you think? Interesting question.
>> -J.
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